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In this video, I’m trying out a new segment called First In First Out. I discuss a new game added to my collection and an older game being taken out to make room for the new. Today, I’m talking about Dice Throne and Betrayal at House on the Hill.

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We need to have a talk about Indigenous representation in board games.

For most of my life, I’ve been lumped in with the majority of straight, white, cis male America, for better or worse. As a child, I was blissfully unaware of even the most basic concepts of racial bias, bigotry, racism or the dirty reality of American colonialism. Traveling in the military began to open my eyes to the rest of the world though and living in New Orleans for a decade completely changed my perspective. I believe, for the better.

But it took a little longer for me to begin to direct my attention directly to the concept of representation in board games and longer still for me to understand the representational void within board game design. One of my stated goals with Sub-Level 03 is to bring gaming to a wider audience and with that in mind, I reached out to to the folks at N.D.N. Players and asked if they’d have a chat with me.

N.D.N. Players are a group of Native American scholars and gamers based in the Pacific Northwest who combine their thorough education, knowledge of Indigenous communities and love of games. Taken directly from their webisite, they have a variety of aims:

• Bringing their indigeneity and social equity skills with them into the gaming aspect of popular culture
• Increasing a scholarly Indigenous presence within popular culture
• Using their Indigenous and their academic knowledge within their gaming
• Modeling Indigenous philosophies and understandings within gaming

With so many other minority voices rising up and being heard in current American political discourse, I felt like this was a great time to talk about Native American and Indigenous representation in board games and board game designs. What follows is my chat with Jeanette, Jonathan and Tylor. It’s a bit long, but I feel it’s well worth the read. I’ve edited in a few places for brevity but never for content or tone.

                                         

Jeanette Bushnell, PhD           Jonathan S. Tomhave, PhD       Tylor Prather

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Connor
Connor

Hello, readers! If you’re just tuning in, I highly recommend you go back and read part 1 of this article, which can be found HERE.

In part one of The Ethics of Buying Board Games, I discussed a bit of the industry framework and how you, the average game player, probably gets their hands on a game. Next, let’s talk briefly about money. I know many of you have probably already thought part of this through. If the distributors buy the games from the publisher, then the publisher has already gotten their money. Why should it matter where you buy a game from? In theory, that transaction has nothing to do with the publisher, right? I’m glad you asked. We’re getting closer to the heart of the matter here. (more…)

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Connor
Connor

Purchasing a board game is like any other purchase you make, right? Regardless of where you’re buying a board game or who you’re buying it from, it’s the same product. Finding the lowest price for a game just makes sense. If you can buy the same game for $25 or for $19, why would you choose to pay more?

I’m here to tell you that where you buy your board games does matter, and not just a little. I know in our current era of capitalism, it seems like there’s no way to avoid hurling your hard earned dollars into a vast corporate void. That isn’t true with board games though. In fact, how you buy your board games has a direct impact that can be traced all the way back to the very people who designed and produced that game. More than any other non-local industry I can think of, your money has enormous power – for better or worse. (more…)

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